North Shore Summer with Kids

Chicago's North Shore has many beaches for you and your kids to take advantage of.

Summering On The North Shore...With Kids


Lake Michigan is our single greatest natural asset here on the North Shore, and we’ve got some of the best beaches by which to enjoy it. Up north, there’s Fort Sheridan’s rocky shoreline – a great place for nature walks and rock skipping. The forest preserve also includes an oversized replica of a red-tailed hawk’s nest, where kids can get a special view of the nature surrounding them. Further down the shoreline, Highland Park’s Rosewood Beach is an 11-acre facility where kids can swim and keep an eye out for white-tailed deer all at once. Wilmette’s Gillson Park is a great place to swim and play, and with a full service concession stand, you can leave the cooler at home. And Evanston’s Clark Street Beach has a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline, and is a hop, skip and a jump to downtown Evanston.


If your idea of a good time falls more in line with cement instead of sand, the North Shore has a number of fantastic kid-friendly water parks. Highland Park’s Hidden Creek Aquapark has great food, great slides, and a wonderful water playground. Northbrook’s Meadowhill Aquatic Center is very family friendly with lots of kids’ space and play areas. And Glenview’s two outdoor pools, Roosevelt Pool and Flick Pool, have been completely revamped in the last two years, offering the latest in slides, water play, lap swimming, and zero-depth entry kids’ zones.

Parks and Nature

Putting some play in your day is a surefire way to put a smile on a kid’s face. The North Shore is home to one of the nation’s finest botanical gardens, the Chicago Botanic Garden, located in Glencoe. Here, kids can relish in the wonder of an amazing train garden, learn about seeds and do some serious bird watching. Glenview is home to the Grove, home to nature of the past, with a log cabin, one-room schoolhouse and a Native American village. The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is a fantastic place where kids can merge their interest in arts with a little fresh air.


Trying to squeeze in some learning without the kids knowing it? Try the Skokie Heritage Museum, home to one of Skokie’s first log cabins, and a great old firehouse. The Historic Deerfield Museum transports you back to an authentic New England Village, with 13 buildings on site. There’s even an archaeological workshop in July. Northwestern University’s Dearborn Observatory offers Friday night viewing sessions from its refracting telescope - great for junior stargazers. And for something really kid-friendly, look no further than Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview, where the pint-sized set can enjoy pretend play in a pint-sized Dominick’s and Potbelly’s, get their art groove on, and even twist their own pretzels and Kim and Scott’s, located inside the museum.

Rainy Day Backups

There’s no avoiding an occasional rainy day. However, that doesn’t mean you have to keep the kids cooped up. Lincolnshire’s Putting Edge, a whimsical glow-in-the-dark indoor putt putt course. Glenview’s Kerasotes Theaters have a free summer movie promotion on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. all summer long. And when you can’t strap on the rollerblades, you can always go for ice skates, at any one of the North Shore area ice rinks, located in Highland Park, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glenview and Northbrook. Like to strike a few pins? Check out one of Glenview's newest hotspots, Pinstripes, located in the Willow Festival Plaza on Willow Road just west of Waukegan Rd. They've got bowling, bocce ball, and a full-service bistro.


If you’re itching for some time at the mall, Skokie’s Old Orchard Mall is a great place for kids. It’s outdoors, and there are several kids’ play areas – the cement dragon is a fan favorite. Northbrook Court is a rainy day alternative, with a giant tree house play place for the preschool set. Evanston’s Central Street Shops has a very nice playground right across the street. It’s a great place to go when you grab a bite at Foodstuffs or Great Harvest Bread Company. And The Glen Town Center in Glenview is directly across from Gallery Park, where you can relax after a marathon shopping session while the kids go nuts exploring Little Bear Garden.